By Rich Place
For 25 years, greeting customers and helping them with their flooring needs — all while raising a family — has been the lives of Joe and Stacie Decker.
And although it’s been a fruitful and worthwhile endeavor, new opportunities for the couple, who own Carpet World on East Main Street in Springville, have led them to the decision to close their business at the end of the month.
“It’s emotional because it’s been our life for a very long time,” Stacie said after posting the closing announcement on the store’s Facebook page. “But just like everything else, changes have to be made.”
Those changes include both of them being offered full-time positions at Hamburg Floor Covering, where Joe had already worked part-time, allowing the couple to still be involved in the carpet world — no pun intended — while not owning their own business.
Witter-Davis Furniture — located in the same building and always closely associated with Carpet World — will remain open, owner Jim Krezmien noted after receiving calls from customers about the potential confusion.
Stacie mentioned the memories the family has made in the Carpet World store, the friendships that have developed and the fruits of their labor, but also said she was looking forward to leaving behind the stress and amount of time invested with owning a business.
“I think it will probably be nice to just go to a job, come home from a job and not have to worry about it,” she admitted.
The Deckers involvement in the carpet businesses stretches back to when Joe served as a manager of a carpet chain in New Jersey. Stacie’s parents were good friends with Fran Krezmien, who owned the flooring aspect of Witter-Davis Furniture.
When Fran Krezmien discussed selling the store, Stacie’s parents called them up and asked if they were interested in owning their own business.
“We were able to come up, rent a house, buy a business and raise our kids doing it,” Stacie said. “It was perfect. It’s kind of like it was meant to happen.”
Along with a business came plenty of memories beyond actually selling carpet. The past 25 years also included raising a family, making friends with those on Main Street and adjusting to the changing times of small-town retail.
“That closet right there, my daughter had a fort in it,” Stacie said. “She’d get here after school, off the bus, and take her friends into her fort. Then my granddaughter was already planning on getting dropped off here right after school and having her own fort. So it’s pretty sad. And my son used to jump on all the racks and play hide-and-seek.”
The internet and big box stores, just like several other small-town establishments, had changed the way Main Street businesses operated, Stacie said.
“We held our own but it was hard work,” she said.
With that small-town mentality comes a comradery Stacie said the couple will miss with other Main Street merchants. That’s why she still plans to be involved with some community functions, like the Springville Oktoberfest.
As far as the storefront goes, it won’t stay empty long. Jim Krezmien is looking to move some of Witter-Davis Furniture’s upstairs inventory — mostly La-Z-Boy furniture — into the area so customers won’t have to navigate the stairs as often.
Stacie said she’s fortunate to have been a Main Street merchant for the past 25 years and will miss the customers, other business owners and everything else that made Springville what it is.
“(From the) bottom of our hearts we do appreciate every customer that has came in,” she said. “We have made a lot of friends. I have people who come in, sit down and have coffee with me. I think that’s the best.”